INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in partnership with the Council on Foundations yesterday recognized Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem Inc., with the 2018 HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships for its work with the American Lung Association (ALA) to offer free smoking cessation programs. Secretary Ben Carson presented the award yesterday at a ceremony at HUD’s Washington, DC headquarters.
The HUD Secretary’s award recognizes collaborations between the public sector and philanthropic organizations and their efforts to improve the quality of life for children and families residing in public housing developments across urban, suburban, and rural areas.
Building on a longstanding partnership, last year the Anthem Foundation teamed with the ALA to introduce the Smoking Cessation for Low-Income Housing Residents Initiative ahead of HUD’s smoke-free housing policy, which is designed to reduce exposure to second hand smoke and will be fully implemented at the end of July 2018. In support of the initiative, the Foundation provided nearly $1 million in funding to offer the ALA’s Freedom from Smoking® program to residents in public housing developments located in 14 states across the country. The program has an initial goal of enrolling 4,500 public housing residents by June 2019, which is predicted to reduce second hand smoke exposure for an additional 50,000 public housing residents in those developments.
“Anthem is committed to building a better healthcare future for all Americans and that means helping ensure individuals have access to health care programs in their communities,” said Lance Chrisman, executive director of Anthem Foundation. “Anthem Foundation is honored to be recognized for our collaboration with the American Lung Association and the more than 200 community organizations that have joined us in ensuring individuals have the resources they need to quit smoking, improve their lung health and prevent tobacco-related illnesses.”
HUD’s new policy is aimed at helping to reduce the impact of second-hand smoke which can be just as detrimental as first-hand smoke, especially for children, who are at higher risk for premature birth, asthma, respiratory infections and ear infections. The new policy comes with recommendations from HUD that local housing authorities provide smoking cessation resources to residents; working together, the Foundation and ALA are helping to make that possible and providing easy access to smoking cessation programs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke every year in the US, making it the leading cause of preventable death in this country.
About Anthem Foundation
The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.